About ABHM


Holistic Medicine is the art and science that addresses the whole person, body, mind and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to prevent and treat disease, but most importantly to promote optimal health.


  • The American Board of Holistic Medicine was incorporated in 1996 to:
  • Evaluate the candidacy of applicants desiring certification as specialists in Holistic Medicine
  • Establish and maintain high standards of excellence in the specialty of Holistic Medicine
  • Improve the quality of medical care provided to the public
  • Serve the public, physicians, health practitioners, hospitals, therapists, educators, state medical boards, and third party insurance carriers, by having available a roster of the diplomates certified by the Board


The American Board of Holistic Medicine was founded in 1996. The MISSION of the ABHM is to establish and maintain the highest standards of medical care while assisting holistic physicians in their training.

The ABHM seeks to accomplish this mission through:

  • Evaluating the candidacy of applicants desiring certification as specialists in Holistic Medicine.
  • Providing for a periodic intensive review course for holistic physicians
  • Encouraging the development of holistic medical residency training programs
  • Encouraging the development of a holistic medical school
  • Encouraging the development of multidisciplinary holistic clinics
  • Maintaining a presence on the forefront of scientific research to maintain and enhance holistic practice guidelines
  • Continued development of the Principles of Holistic Medical Practice
  • Seeking cooperation with other professional and community groups with a similar mission
  • Encouraging the continued accumulation of the database supporting the scientific basis of holistic medicine
  • Maintaining a database of diplomates

The Vision of the ABHM is to:

  • Ignite and sustain the joy and passion of being a physician
  • Establish unconditional love as the foundation of healthcare
  • Support physicians in honoring the health of the planet with compassion and wisdom

The principles of holistic medical practice are:

  1. Unconditional love is life’s most powerful healer. Holistic physicians strive to adopt an attitude of unconditional love for patients, themselves, and other practitioners.
  2. Optimal health is much more than the absence of sickness. It is the conscious pursuit of the highest qualities of the spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, environmental and social aspects of the human experience, and the awareness of being fully alive.
  3. Illness is viewed as a manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole person, not as an isolated event.
  4. Holistic physicians embrace a variety of safe, effective options in diagnosis and treatment, including education for lifestyle changes and self-care; complementary modalities; and conventional drugs and surgery
  5. Searching for the underlying causes of disease is preferable to treating symptoms alone.
  6. Holistic physicians expend as much effort in establishing what kind of patient has a disease as they do in establishing what kind of disease a patient has.
  7. Prevention is preferable to treatment and is usually more cost-effective. The most cost-effective approach evokes the patient’s own innate healing capabilities.
  8. A major determinant of healing outcomes is the quality of the relationship established between physician and patient, in which patient autonomy is encouraged.
  9. The ideal physician-patient relationship considers the needs, desires, awareness and insight of the patient as well as those of the physician.
  10. Physicians significantly influence patients by their example.
  11. Illness, pain and the dying process can be learning opportunities for patients and physicians.
  12. Holistic physicians encourage patients to evoke the healing power of love, hope, humor and enthusiasm and to release the toxic consequences of hostility, shame, greed, depression and prolonged fear, anger and grief.


Holistic Medicine is the emerging medical specialty that incorporates the art and science of (1) caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – to treat and prevent disease; and, (2) empowering patients to create a condition of optimal health far beyond merely the absence of illness. Both outside and inside the medical profession, this concept of medicine of the whole person is gathering increasing support;. The body-mind –spirit approach integrates many disciplines and modalities, including physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, exercise, environment, emotions, attitudes, beliefs, social relationships, manual medicine, herbs, homeopathy, energy medicine, prayer, acupuncture, meditation, spirituality, and biofeedback.

Holistic Medicine is based on the core belief that unconditional love is life’s most powerful healer. At its essence, the practice of holistic medicine embraces a spirit of interdisciplinary and physician-patient cooperation, balances the mitigation of causes with relief of symptoms, integrates conventional and complementary therapies, and facilitates the experience of being fully alive.

As these concepts are incorporated into American medical practice, medical education, health planning, and research, reasonable standards need to be established regarding the application of the body of knowledge which encompasses the field of Holistic Medicine. The ABHM is not currently an affiliate of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Once established, it is the intent of the Board of Directors to apply for that affiliation.


The ABHM recognizes the broad variety of ailments experienced by patients seeking care from physicians and recognizes the benefits of a holistic approach to these patient problems. Applicants for diplomate status in the American Board of Holistic Medicine will adhere to the following: Professional education: Diplomates will maintain competency in the practice of their primary specialty such that it conforms to the standards and expectations of peer organizations, specialty groups and licensing requirements.

Continuing medical education in every changing fields is expected. Professional conduct: Diplomates agree to eschew illegal activity and unethical practice related to patients, employees, peers and associates. Professional responsibilities: Diplomates agree to maintain a cooperative attitude in patient relationships based on a mutual decision as to what is best for the patient.

Professional confidentiality: Within any legal requirements, diplomates safeguard confidentiality of patient information and records, affirming the rights of patients to obtain their records for their own purposes. Community standards: Diplomates will abide by prevailing community standards and law in regard to business practices. Advertising will be honest and factual. Unethical sharing of fees and conflicts of interest will be avoided. Principles of practice: Diplomates will commit to the Principles of Holistic Medical Practice.

The ABHM is committed to enhancing the knowledge, competence and expertise of holistic physicians to the greatest benefit of their patients.


Application for certification as a diplomate of the ABHM is a voluntary act entered into by physicians who choose to incorporate holistic principles into their practices. The certification enables physicians to obtain a credential, which attests to their knowledge in the field and affords them the recognition of having met an identified peer-developed standard of achievement.

The certifying process includes:

  1. Submission of evidence of licensure requirements as an M.D. or D.O., copies of diplomas of the graduate degree and residency training, evidence of board certification, and other postgraduate certified training.
  2. Completion of all informational material, including an autobiographical paper and holistic health questionnaire.
  3. Submission of one letter of reference from a professional colleague.
  4. Completion of a screening interview.
  5. Payment of all applicable fees
  6. Achieving an acceptable score in the qualifying examination.